Unlike the safety scissors of your childhood (you know, the ones barely capable of cutting construction paper), safety razors are hardly kid’s play.
They are the best option for replicating the close shave of a straight razor without the real chance that you’ll slice your own throat. Compared to four-blade offerings, this no-frills option (basically just a handle and double edge razor) is old-school, but it’s being heralded as the best way to reduce irritation and ingrown hairs.
“There are more benefits than downsides to using a safety razor,” says master barber Kyle Holbrook of Fellow Barber in San Francisco. Holbrook shares some tips for getting your best shave with a safety razor.
The Benefits of Using a Safety Razor
There are more benefits to using safety razors. “The savings on blades alone warrant the change; one can buy a pack of 100 quality blades for under $10 and be able to experiment with a variety of different manufacturers and blade types,” says Holbrook. “Some guys need a more firm blade with less give, whereas those with sensitive skin or new to safety razor shaving can find a blade with more give.”
Heat and Oil Are Your Friends
While you won’t get as close a shave as you would with multi-blade razor, you can get closer by using pre-shave oil and heat to soften hairs, explains Holbrook. If you don’t already have a pre-shave oil, take a look at our list of the best options.
Practice Your Technique
Until you get the hang of it there is a higher risk of getting nicked than with the newer razors, but once you’ve learned the “angles and bends of your facial features,” you’ll get a bloodless shave, says Holbrook.
“The safety razor isn’t as steep of a learning curve as a straight razor, but it still requires some care when shaving,” he adds. “Many razor handles have an adjustment for the steepness or exposure of the blade, and starting low would be ideal and then you can adjust based on how it feels on your skin and how much beard it’s removing.”
Be Careful Around Tricky Areas
“As always with shaving, the challenging spots will be the chin, mustache, and under the bottom lip, but I’d say start with a big smooth area that is easy to shave — say the sideburn or cheek and go from there,” suggests Holbrook.
“Take your time and you will likely find that having a single blade shave is far less irritating to your skin than the aggressive shaving experience of the multi-blade razor,” says Holbrook.
Best Safety Razor
Bevel Safety Razor
The Bevel safety razor was designed to shave only as far as the surface of your skin and no deeper. Many multi-blade razors have the tendency to cut beneath the surface of the skin and hair follicles, leaving behind razor bumps and ingrown hairs. The Bevel razor uses just a single blade for its cutting duties, allowing for a more comfortable and effective shave. The expertly weighted handle also allows the razor and gravity to do the work for you, rather than needed to pull or drag the razor across your face. Because of its durability, utility, and versatility for all skin and beard types — at such a wallet-friendly price — the Bevel safety blade is the best razor winner of The Manual Grooming Awards 2019.
Other Great Safety Razor Options
Rockwell Razors 6S Adjustable Stainless Steel Safety Razor
Rockwell Razors has described its safety razor as “The Holy Grail of shaving.” The 6S features six levels of adjustability so you can finally take the reins when taming that beast on your face. Appropriately named the Rockwell 6S, this space-grade Swedish stainless steel safety razor was designed to do more than just give men a close shave sans irritation — it can help prevent ingrown hairs and irritation for years to come. The 6s from Rockwell gives men the freedom to define their own
Baxter of California Safety Razor
Baxter of California is a trusted brand for all beard bearers, but especially for those who are just starting their journey into the world of facial hair. Baxter of California’s chrome-plated safety razor sports a classic single blade design perfectly suited for a traditional wet shave. It’s extremely easy to use, easy to clean, and delivered in a black gift box with five starter blades and an instructional card to get you on the path to a hassle-free shaving experience.
Olivina Men Deluxe Safety Razor
For something a little different, check out the deluxe safety razor from Olivina Men. You can opt for the typical chrome or wood finish, but this little guy also comes outfitted with a textured handle, making it an elegant addition to anyone’s facial hair toolkit.
Mühle R106 Short Black Safety Razor
With its sleek, contemporary design, this short safety razor from Mühle is as attractive as it is practical. While the price might seem steep, it’s more than worth it for the water-resistant chrome handle and double-edged blade, both of which greatly extend the product’s life.
Merkur Classic 2-Piece Double Edge Safety Razor
Merkur offers a couple of different safety razor options, all of which are crafted with comfort, convenience, and efficacy in mind. The classic, two-piece, double-edge safety razor is produced in Solingen, Germany, with world-famous Solingen steel. From a heavy-duty weighted head and a long rust-resistant handle to easy-to-hold hand grips and standardized blade accessibility, Merkur’s safety razor is stylish, serviceable, and so easy to use that we’re dubbing it one of the best safety razors to use when trying to make a quick transition away from disposable razors.
Article last updated by Bryan Holt.
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